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Exclusive: Benson Henderson on proposal

Benson Henderson has dated Maria Magana for about three years and proposed on Saturday. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Talk about nerve-racking for Benson Henderson.

Not defending your UFC lightweight championship title against Gilbert Melendez at UFC on Fox 7 in San Jose, Calif., Saturday night.

Not even proposing to longtime girlfriend Maria Magana in front of millions of TV fans after the fight.

It was getting called into the office of UFC President Dana White before all this took place.

"Are you sure you want to do this? This is a lot of pressure, if you don't have enough pressure already," White said, according to Henderson. "We are on Fox, so we only have enough time, so you need to hurry up and knock him out or make him submit. So you need to be quick about it."

Henderson, who is nicknamed "Smooth," said he sat there and thought, "Goodness gracious. I have to knock him out? There are millions of people watching. My heart is racing. What did I get myself into!"

Well, timing of his fight became a nonissue, as there were a record-tying eight knockouts on the undercard before the Henderson fight. Henderson (19-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) scored a split decision over Melendez in front of 13,506 spectators.

Henderson, who has been fighting out of Phoenix since 2006, said he's been planning the proposal for awhile. He and Magana have been dating for about three years.

"I was thinking of ideas to make it special. I thought about doing something in public, like after a fight," he said. "Then, I realized that I would need to be concentrating on the fight, and I was on a fence. I bought the ring, and I didn't tell anybody about this. I then decided to man up and ask."

Five quick questions with Henderson:

What if you hadn't won?

"I don't know. I wasn't sure I was going to ask her or not. I know you still get interviewed if you don't win when you're the defending champion. But I don't know what I would have done."

Did you hear the pro-Melendez crowd booing?

"I heard afterward about the crowd. I was so nervous just asking. I didn't hear a single boo. I just heard her say 'Yes.'"

Dana White mentioned that Gray Maynard will fight T.J. Grant at UFC 160 next month with the winner getting the shot at you. Is that next?

"I'm not sure. I also heard about some other scenarios. Our sport always changes, and you need to be pretty fluid. I'm just going with the flow."

Will a wedding come before that?

"She and I will talk about arrangements for the wedding. We haven't set a date yet."

So what does Monday bring?

"I'm getting back in the gym. There are holes in my game. I didn't have my best performance. I could have done better. Gilbert is tough as heck. I know I'll see him again. He's been fighting since 2002. He has put in more than 20,000 hours of practice. I have about 7,000 hours. I know there are only 24 hours in a day, but I have to get better."